Friday, January 1, 2010

FICTIONAL STORY: The Only Exception by P. Viron

Author’s Note: This is a work of fiction inspired by the song “The Only Exception” by Paramore. Please do not mistake the character’s point of view as my own narrative.

Originally written: December 24, 2009-December 28, 2009

Most love stories tell us how two people find each other in a world of veritable bliss and misery—and fall madly in love with each other. Two people go through life’s hardships before finally, the gentle wind of destiny blows them towards the other person who they are meant to be with.

But what about those who fall in love, but aren’t exactly fallen for? Are their stories mere tragedies because their love was too strong to be reciprocated?

My story is nothing like Romeo and Juliet’s or Samson and Delilah’s. My story is pretty simple. It’s about me finding a different kind of love—loving someone without expecting anything in return, not even a reciprocation of my feelings.

Looking back on the first time I saw him—standing in front of our class during a group presentation—I honestly didn’t count on going as deep as falling for him. In that moment, I was just taken by surprise and I thought he was cute. I thought that was just that, a physical attraction. Period. There’s a good-looking guy in class and he had every potential to be an eye candy. For a couple of months it seemed that way, until curiosity grew and I began to take more notice of him.

As the curiosity grew, so did my self-confidence. I used to have self-deprecating thoughts whenever I liked a guy; however, this time I didn’t think that I wasn’t “pretty enough” or “good enough” for him. If it would feel like I wasn’t, it was going to be okay. I could always turn to the next guy who has the same potential to be a crush.

Swallowing my pride and beating my fear, I took my growing sense of bravery and befriended him. It made me happy when we instantly clicked. We shared the same interest in music and knowledge in gadgets, and somehow our humor matched—my witty, pun-filled humor and his wisecracks. I will admit, we were flirty with each other.

And so a friendship developed. My determination to get to know him turned into the two of us getting to know each other. It felt good to do something brave, no matter how simple it was, and to be rewarded with the gift of friendship.

The friendship allowed my mind and heart to open up to the possibility of something more than “just” a friendship. I mean, there was definitely flirting mixed in the friendship—there were teasing (verbal and non-verbal, but don’t expect me to elaborate on that), laughter, and subtle come ons. Deep inside I admit a butterfly of feelings I can’t put a name to fluttered around the pit of my stomach until it finally reached my heart. What’s this? What’s this feeling that made my heart pump more blood than it usually does, made my palms sweat like a kid in gym class, and the muscles of my face work together to form a widening of my lips to show an emotion of happiness?

“It must have been infatuation, a simple fleeting crush that would eventually wear out.” I assured myself with those words and I went by with my life thinking just that. All those physiological spikes are just products of infatuation.

But all my rationalizing didn’t stop me from realizing that this guy popped my heart’s seams. I kept seeing him in my dreams and I kept feeling gleeful whenever he was around. At this point I felt a transition in my outlooks in life.

I used to believe that love doesn’t last or that love stories were just fabricated by the Romantics. Now my mind was opening up to the possibility of love. All those love stories I read in books or watch in movies, I could possibly feel them with him. A smile lingered on my face as I thought about it—his firm but soft finger blades brushing against my skin, his full and luscious-looking lips locking with mine, his masculine cologne filling my nose with a whiff as he pulls me close to him, his big arms keeping me warm... I’m not usually the one who fantasizes, but I couldn’t stop. I could truly imagine myself being with him.

Then slowly, my smile faltered. The picture I just drew is a huge contrast to the life I comfortably live—the independence, the no-strings-attached—and I’m so used to that kind of life that the possibility of its major alteration scared me. I’ll go from spending plenty of free time with my circle of friends to spending exclusive time with him as my “special someone”. There will be dates, monthsaries, and whatnot. There’s this exclusivity with someone, which is something I never had in my life.

I was so occupied by those thoughts that over the upcoming days I avoided him. I ducked possibilities of engaging in conversations with him. I couldn’t even make eye contact with him.

Oh, you all might be wondering what his name is. Well, that’s a secret I’ll never tell. This story is not about me imparting a story; it’s about me telling a story with the hope that whoever reads it will learn from it (maybe even relate to it). Maybe we, the characters, aren’t the stars of the story—it’s the story itself.

I digressed, so now it’s to go back to the story. I avoided him and I admit it felt awful doing so. He and I were becoming good friends and for reasons unknown to him, I was acting like I didn’t know him. The guilt kicked me in the shin when one of my friends pointed out the elephant in the room.

She thought it was a shame that I was letting a good friend slip because I had feelings for that person. And damn it, she was right. So, ignoring the fact that I wanted more than just a friendship, I got back to acting like things were back to normal. I sent a text message to him, apologizing for how I have been acting strange around him. I don’t know whether or not he was playing with me, but he told me he didn’t notice the sudden change in my behaviour towards him. I don’t know if I should have been embarrassed or relieved. Anyway, I felt happy because we were back to normal.

As the friendship went on, there was a growing feeling in my heart. My heart raced whenever he was around, a smile formed in my face when we conversed, and, oh, he still appeared in my dreams almost every night. In my dreams we were in love, probably a product of my dreams of being with him in a romantic context.

I was, for the first time in a long time, irrevocably feeling a little thing called LOVE. Long ago I have shut out love from my life, having been disappointed with loving someone and not being loved in return. I practically gave my all to make that person love me—doing simple favors for him, conversing with him until dawn—but he didn’t find it in him to reciprocate my feelings. His heart belonged to someone else so I had to let him go. There was no point in loving a person who was not going to love me in return. It was too painful and too tragic.

Now it feels like love is re-entering my heart. It broke the guard I kept around me for more than a year. I was falling in love with someone... secretly. I decided to keep my feelings to myself because I wanted to be sure that this time I won’t crash and burn. I needed to trust in him, the object of my affection, that he won’t hurt me the way I’ve been hurt in my past because I won’t stand the pain.

When I went on for days with this secret love, some instinct in my gut told me he didn’t feel the same way. Reality itself presented me with pieces of evidence that his heart belonged with someone else: his phone’s wallpaper was of a pretty girl with long black hair and full brown eyes and a fashion sense that’s straight out of Candy magazine, his Facebook wall was flooded with e-mails from the same girl, and I’ve seen them together plenty of times in campus. (Although experience tells me that there are instances in life that are more than meets the eye, including a boy and girl who could possible be just friends.)

And then there’s the fact that no matter how many hints I would drop, no matter how many blogs about him I would post on my website, he didn’t get the fact that I was indeed falling in love with him. To him, I was a friend, someone to talk with or turn to for help when needed. That’s all I ever was to him while the blood in my veins boiled with passion of yearning for more.

To me, he could be the one who will make a difference in the world by eliminating one less lonely girl. I felt an undeniable spark when we spent time together. And I could not ignore the fact that we had a lot in common... and that a couple of my friends told me we look good together.

I was on a one-sided love affair. My heart told me for sure that I was in love. This one person occupies my thoughts and inspires me to do what I love—art. Countless poems, stories, drawings, and sketches have been made by my own hands because of my feelings for him. At this point I’m probably still bordering on infatuation, but I believe it is love.

Being in love with him allowed me to have a new perspective. I took risks by stepping out a little from my comfort zone. For someone who used to shyly hide behind books and just admire a guy from a distance, developing my feelings for him allowed me to step out of that. I looked at beauty, meaning, and art in ways I haven’t perceived before.

But then there’s the fact that he has feelings for someone else. They aren’t exactly officially a couple, but they’re as good as one. The impending fat that they’ll be on a two-sided love story and I’ll be on my own, loving him from my comfortable distance scared me. And it made me think as well: was I being a masochist for loving a narcissist?

I couldn’t allow myself to get hurt by falling in love when love isn’t supposed to let you feel any sort of pain. It’s supposed to please you, make you smile, and most of all, protect you from pain.

So I distracted myself by focusing on academics and other productive activities. I found every excuse to bond with my friends, going out for lunches and laughing and fooling around campus. By doing so, I realized that I can still love someone and not have to wait in agony or in vain. I realized that the comfort of good friends is a great feeling because it uplifts you from the disappointments. As a matter of fact, I thought as well that love was not necessary in my life when I have a lot to focus on. I’d rather not love at all than to love and get hurt along the way. That mistake was made before and it wasn’t going to be made again.

Besides, even if I did pursue my feelings for him, I don’t want my life to be altered by the effects of my feelings. The fears I had were coming back to me.

Then again, I love him. And I knew it. I can rationalize all I want; it still won’t eradicate the persisting feeling that I was in love with an imperfect guy—he had no idea I had feelings for him as more than just a friend and he had the tendency to be a jerk when he’s with guy friends. He’s not exactly the sweetest, the most thoughtful, and the most caring guy on the planet—somehow I didn’t care. Love made me look past those imperfections. Besides, if you can’t looks past people’s imperfections, how will you find the one for you? Nobody’s perfect so if you keep setting up standards, you’ll find great people but some of them won’t fulfil your standards. Then you’ll be disappointed every time that happens. So broaden your mind. Learn to love people who they are, who they’re not, and who they want to be because they’ll do the same to you. If they don’t, then they’re not the one you should be with.

So I went on with life, secretly loving him. By loving him, I felt free. I didn’t own him and I didn’t have to. I loved him and expected nothing in return—not even his love. Yes, I know better now than I did when I landed on this exactly the same situation over a year ago. The difference is that I love someone without expecting anything in return. I accepted the reality that the love won’t become mutual.

I can’t beg him to love me back because I want him to love me out of his own will. If that won’t happen, I’ll find the courage and grace to accept that.

For loving him is like me looking at my reflection on a lake. If the water is agitated, I can not look into it clearly. But if I allow the water to be still, I will see my reflection clearly.

Now some might think I’d leave my feelings for him and give up because he loves another girl. It’s too pathetic and pitiful to love someone who doesn’t have the faintest idea that I do and even if he did, he probably love me back anyway.

I admit that it did hurt to know that this is all a one-sided love affair. I shed my tears, shouted my anguish, and clenched my fists in frequent disappointment. I hung my head low and faked smiles. But with all my best I kept intact the most important things: faith. No matter how tough this is for me, I always believe that my day will come. My dream of true love and bliss will come true. Whatever burden I carry is just a roadblock and I’ll get past it.

So I held on to my feelings, being mindful not to hold on too tightly because doing so would defeat my freedom. I love him without expecting anything and I feel free because of that. I wouldn’t want to lose that freedom.

Call it a tragedy, a bad romance, or nobility, all I know is I’m in love with someone who’s completely unaware that I feel that way and even if he were, he probably won’t equalize those feelings. But that’s okay. Maybe someone will come along and together we’ll share a love story better than I ever imagined. The right person will come. The right time will come. I believe so.

Now I understand in a love that doesn’t have to be mutual and in a love that requires selflessness. Paulo Coelho once wrote that the true experience of love is “having the most important thing in the world without owning it.” And I consider myself... FREE.

Somewhere deep in my soul, I used to believe that love never lasts. It’s as fleeting as a season. And for a while I’ve kept a comfortable distance to the point that I became content with loneliness because whatever risk I took with love wasn’t worth making.

Now, I may have found the only exception to those beliefs. And I’m on my way to believing in love...


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